Those bargain basement airplanes

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PTAirco

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Sep 20, 2003
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Corona CA
My choice will also depend on what the outcome of the current discussions are regarding the possible permanent extension of the E-LSA exemption for training aircraft. If they do that, the choices open up a little more, although I doubt if I find something useful among the current crop of registered E-LSA's. I think only about 70 airplanes actually did this before the deadline. And getting a new E-LSA kit such as a Zenith, will still cost about twice as much as I can possible stretch to.

I am looking seriously at Ercoupes and I have no idea why! They were never my kind of airplane. They have character, certainly. I looked at one here at Corona and I think I'll fit ok. Parking one outside is also feasable, especially if you have one with an all metal wing, or make up a set of simple wing/cockpit covers. They make good trainers, seem to be very easy to fly airplanes (maybe too easy for a trainer?). Boeing 707 pilots used to train on these to learn the landing-while-crabbing method of arriving in a crosswind. Although I would definitely get the rudder pedals.

It seems to me the bottom of the market has been reached a few months ago and things are slowly picking up again, judging by prices I see for classic airplanes these days. Time to get in there.
 

Dan Thomas

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Sep 17, 2008
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5,082
I am looking seriously at Ercoupes and I have no idea why! They were never my kind of airplane. They have character, certainly. I looked at one here at Corona and I think I'll fit ok. Parking one outside is also feasable, especially if you have one with an all metal wing, or make up a set of simple wing/cockpit covers. They make good trainers, seem to be very easy to fly airplanes (maybe too easy for a trainer?). Boeing 707 pilots used to train on these to learn the landing-while-crabbing method of arriving in a crosswind. Although I would definitely get the rudder pedals.
The rudders didn't have a lot of authority (they're too small and don't move much), but the pedals at least give your feet something to do. And you steer on the ground with them instead of the yoke. Slipping that airplane to lose altitude isn't necessary; just get it slow and it'll plummet. Short wings are like that. Don't get caught by getting too slow on final; the airplane won't stall but it will still hit the ground hard enough to kill you.

Older Ercoupes have had trouble with corrosion in the spar center section, IIRC. A good pre-buy by someone familiar with their quirks would be wise.

Dan
 

bmcj

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Apr 10, 2007
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Fresno, California
I don't have a lot of experience with Ercoupes, but I seem to remember them being fairly anemic in climb. Can anyone confirm or refute that?
 

Dan Thomas

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I don't have a lot of experience with Ercoupes, but I seem to remember them being fairly anemic in climb. Can anyone confirm or refute that?
It would depend on the engine installed. The one I flew (a '67 Alon) had a C-90, and it outran the two Cessna 150s we had here at the time. It took off shorter and climbed better (though it ain't hard to beat a 150 there) and cruised faster, all on 10 less HP but with 150 lb lower gross. The hp/weight ratio was about the same, 16:1 for the 150 and 16.11:1 for the Ercoupe.

The 150 is a dismal airplane, in my view; I both instructed in them and maintained them. The Lyc-powered 172 makes much better economic and performance sense. The O-200 needed a lot of TLC where valves were concerned, and this extends to all small Continentals, including the C-90.

Older models had 75 or 85 hp. They might be a little anemic. Univair now holds the Type Certificate for the Ercoupe. See http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgMakeModel.nsf/MainFrame?OpenFrameSet

Dan
 

Joe Fisher

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Feb 10, 2007
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1,379
Location
Galesburg, KS South east Kansas
One thing about Ercoupe .The original 75hp airplane is certified under the light sport weight limit. The later models are to heavy and converting the 75hp to 85hp takes them over the limit.
 

dirtstrip

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Dec 18, 2008
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64
Location
Conde, SD. on the farm
The familiarity and reliability of the C150 keeps your unexpected consequences budget down so you can stay focused on your project plane. For the head turn factor look for the texas tail dragger conversion. Values of those are not high in this area and she would be an easy keeper. I flew one at Red Lake Minn. with my step father before he settled on his last PA 18. It was one of those planes that gave great value to the person buying it who wanted to fly but to the person selling it, well, he had to find a buyer rather than them coming to him. This is just a win for the buyer who is wanting to fly but is also an expectant aircraft owner already stretched with another one on the way. You generally pay in advance for resale value when you are the one buying. Its hard to anticipate which model will make the enduring classic list with all the AD's that go with the older wood spars and rusting longerons.
I think as more people look to the recreational experience and durability of taildraggers it is going to prove to be a popular and familiar platform for transitioning to tailwheel as time goes on. Can't beat the all aluminum design for outdoor storage for additional savings. At resale time, if she doesn't need mechanical work, resell as is or put on a paint job and make it attractive again. Paint sells.
 

Midniteoyl

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Sep 3, 2003
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2,406
Location
Indiana
Didnt someone here have a friend with a Ercoupe for sale? I seem to remember it in his sig. Seemed like a good plane for a good price. He could also give you the required dual time.


My memory for names sux....
 

bob.shea

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May 24, 2009
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74
Location
wonderlake IL USA
What about the Tri pacers or colts, I can't tell you why but I really like the way the tri pacer looks, they are pretty cheep on barnstormers even the one with newer motors.
 

Dan Thomas

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What about the Tri pacers or colts, I can't tell you why but I really like the way the tri pacer looks, they are pretty cheep on barnstormers even the one with newer motors.
:

The Tri-Pacer outperforms the 172 in just about every way: takeoff, climb, cruise, and payload. It does glide a little steeper. I flew one for the first time a year ago and was very favorably impressed. I would imagine the Colt would make a 150 look sick.

But, as with any old tube and rag airplane, beware of rotten fabric, corroded structure, and so on. The 172 isn't immune to corrosion either, though, and some guys have bought some good-looking unairworthy junk. You want to spend money on a good pre-buy; it's like insurance.

Dan
 

bmcj

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Tripacers are a good "get-you-there" utility aircraft. Distinctive in appearance but not particularly big inside or out. My biggest complaint is that, unless you are very short, your head sticks up between the wing roots and requires you to duck your head in order to look left or right for clearing your turns.
 

Dana

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CT, USA
T...unless you are very short, your head sticks up between the wing roots and requires you to duck your head in order to look left or right for clearing your turns.
That's true of many planes of that era... my T-Craft was the same, and I'm only 5'8". Gets to be a habit, you don't even notice it after awhile.

If I was in the market for that kind of plane, though, I'd choose a Pacer over a Tri-Pacer, though.

-Dana

I think we should have a new Constitutional amendment: every year the State of the Union address should open with a reading of George Washington's farewell address, with emphasis on avoiding entangling alliances and not becoming involved in the territorial disputes of other nations.
 

Canamryder

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Joined
Oct 30, 2009
Messages
9
Location
Phoenix, Az
I know of an Interstate S1A1 Cadet that may still be for sale up here in your price range. Very similar to a Cub in appearance but with a fully cowled engine and a semi-symmetrical (not flat-bottomed) airfoil. If you've seen Kent Pietsch's act, that's an Interstate Cadet. In fact, I think the one up here might be the military observation version with big glass and maybe a big engine.
I've had two S1-A cadets....and I'm 6'1" its like getting in and out of a luscombe.

I'd recommend the Champ though. My father is 6'4 and we both got in it no problem. I do know that there is a champ somewhere in alabama or mississippi for $10k, but the fuselage has be fiberglassed with the Razorback process.
 

PTAirco

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Sep 20, 2003
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Corona CA
I am narrowing things down to a Champ with more than 65 hp - an 85 hp would be nice and they do appear for sale from time to time. As far as I know, converting a 65 Continental to an 85 is not that difficult - has anyone had experience with this? Isn't it mainly a matter of compression ratio, drilled connecting rods and an increase in allowable RPM? I suspect there may be more to it , but my knowledge of engines is mostly confined to those that are round, straight, very very old and odd.
 

Dan Thomas

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Sep 17, 2008
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5,082
I am narrowing things down to a Champ with more than 65 hp - an 85 hp would be nice and they do appear for sale from time to time. As far as I know, converting a 65 Continental to an 85 is not that difficult - has anyone had experience with this? Isn't it mainly a matter of compression ratio, drilled connecting rods and an increase in allowable RPM? I suspect there may be more to it , but my knowledge of engines is mostly confined to those that are round, straight, very very old and odd.
You'd need an STC to change the engine model on a certified airplane. They exist for the Champs, and you'd have to buy the STC paperwork and do the conversion exactly as laid out.

An A-65 is not nearly the same as a C-85. They don't even have the same type certificate number. The bore is considerably larger, and while the stroke is the same, the crank isn't. The compression ratio is the same. The C-series has an accessory case that takes a starter and generator; the A-series doesn't. Basically, if you want 85 hp, you buy a C-85. The A-65 was modified to get the A-75, and then higher compression pistons were installed to get 80 hp, which was as far as that model could go.

The Champ 7AC had 65 hp. The 7EC had 90 hp, a good airplane. The 7FC was an EC with tricycle gear. Ugh.

They're all right here:
http://www.airweb.faa.gov/regulatory_and_guidance_library/rgMAKEMODEL.nsf/0/8e5d791ef6d6d4b18625765d00692b93/$FILE/A-759 Rev. 72.pdf

Now, if I had a Champ, I'd be tempted to reregister it in the owner-maintenance category (Canadian) and hang a Gipsy Major on it. Now that's an airplane engine, and sounds and shakes like one. I towed gliders with an Auster VI 30 years ago and loved it. My ears are still ringing...

Dan
 

bmcj

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13,252
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Fresno, California
I've had two S1-A cadets....and I'm 6'1" its like getting in and out of a luscombe.

I'd recommend the Champ though. My father is 6'4 and we both got in it no problem. I do know that there is a champ somewhere in alabama or mississippi for $10k, but the fuselage has be fiberglassed with the Razorback process.
True, the Champ is a good flying plane and has lots of room inside. Hard to go wrong with a Champ.
 

TFF

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Apr 28, 2010
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12,239
Location
Memphis, TN
I dont know about the Champ engine STCs specifically, but upping the HP usually allows more gross carried, but that can kill the Light Sport deal down the road if the new gross is higher than LSA legal, as the FAA will not allowed it to be returned to the old specs and be LSA. Most of the Ercoupes were legal LSA, but were converted to the later spec for more gross, when LSA was not even a dream. Even if modified back, it cant be LSA by regulations. If LSA is in your future, you want it to stay stock to its type certificate.
 

t46craft@yahoo.com

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Joined
Jun 24, 2010
Messages
31
Location
Madera, California U.S.A.
My choice would be BC or BC12D taylorcraft because of cruise speeds and general utility.
However, be aware of any STC over 1320 if you are wanting light sport. Fuselage is narrow and only comfortable for 2 medium size adults and crowded for same 2 adults on long cross
country. Check spars for age and damage related cracks that includes aileron spars and longerons at the rear where water may have been present in tubes over extended period of time. AD on front and back lift struts and lift strut attach fittings. If aircraft has not been re-licensed since 2008 the above AD likely has not been done. Yes it has light wing loading and will bounce you around but how many aircraft can you close the throttle at Mammoth
and glide to Fresno. Mechanical brakes if properly maintained are plenty good. Th is is my 2 cents worth. I even have one that needs restored, and yes they are going up while a 120
and 140 are coming down (a better all purpose airplane) but not LSA. If you don't need SLA why not 125 piper pacer, 120 or 140 rag wing, piper colt or many others that are fine
planes but not appreciating because not LSA. Do you want convience or SLA. Jerry
 
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